Saturday, 14 May 2022

Slonjšak Calls For Enabling Disabled Persons To Exercise Family-Related Rights

ZAGREB, 14 May 2022 - Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities Anka Slonjšak on Saturday issued a statement on the occasion of International Day of Families, observed on 15 May, emphasising sustainable urban policies, in line with this year's theme, highlighted by the UN for this day: "Families and Urbanization".

The United Nations underscores on its website that "urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide."

This year’s theme, "Families and Urbanization", aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.

Slonjšak says that in Croatia, persons with disabilities are still struggling to achieve their fundamental right to a home and life in a family.

Institutionalisation and admission of persons with disabilities to institutions due to an undeveloped network of support that should enable them to live with their families has a devastating impact on entire families and denies disabled persons the right to live with their families, the ombudsman warns in her statement.

Slonjšak particularly warns about the non-availability of non-institutional social and health services in rural communities, which makes families with members with disabilities move to larger urban areas.

The ombudsman says that even though persons with disabilities are guaranteed the right to marriage, the right to found a family, the right to intimate relationships, sexual activities and childbearing and the right to be foster and adoptive parents, those rights often are unattainable for them.

In this context, she raised her voice against the negative stereotype about persons with disabilities not being able to care for children or get married.

She also calls for pro-active measures that will make it possible for persons with disabilities to exercise those rights.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Ombudswoman: Epidemic Has Hit Persons With Disabilities Particularly Hard

June 25th, 2021 -  The COVID-19 epidemic has affected the lives of persons with disabilities and children with developmental difficulties and their families, the ombudswoman for persons with disabilities, Anka Slonjšak, said in parliament on Friday, presenting a report on her work in 2020.

The epidemic's effect and last year's earthquakes have shown all the shortcomings in the system to which we have been pointing for years, she said.

Problems such as a shortage of experts in medical, educational, and social care institutions, computer illiteracy, and poor availability of transport to rehabilitation centers are yet to show the effects on mental, physical, emotional, and social health, Slonjšak said.

She singled out the lack of continuity in the provision of medical services, saying it led to the health of many people deteriorating.

She said distance learning had a particularly negative effect on children with developmental difficulties.

Last year also saw a standstill in legislative changes regarding persons with disabilities, Slonjšak said, adding that it was necessary to adopt as soon as possible new laws on social care, personal assistants, and the inclusion supplement.

In 2020, Slonjšak's office received 2,266 complaints, 94 more than the year before, and most were about work from home and social care. The office sent legal entities 420 recommendations and warnings, as well as moving 20 legal amendments.

MPs unanimously supported Slonjšak's report, underlining the need to raise further awareness of the needs and rights of persons with disabilities.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border, and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of vaccination points and testing centers across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Slaven Škrobot will Cycle From Savudrija to Prevlaka and Needs Your Help!

May 12, 2021 - After jumping into the sea 12 years ago, Slaven Škrobot was paralyzed. Despite that, he is inspiring people by traveling and adventuring the world.

After jumping into the sea 12 years ago, Slaven Škrobot remained immobile, but this young adventurer and travel lover decided to live life to the fullest and travel the world despite tetraplegia. To break down prejudices, educate people about life with disabilities and inspire them to dare to follow and live their dreams, a few years ago he decided to write a blog, and Telegram once wrote extensively about his travels.


In short, in the last three years, he has visited four continents and become the first person in the world to climb in a wheelchair to the Monastery in the Jordanian city of Petra and to the top of Pidurangala, the sacred rock in Sri Lanka and was named ‘‘Traveller of the year 2019/2020’’.

Slaven's 1000 km wheelchair with smiles on their faces

As reports, Slaven has forged a new plan which he cannot realize without additional help, so he has decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign through which he invites all people of goodwill to become part of his feat, a humanitarian action called "Slaven's 1000 km wheelchair with smiles on their faces", through which he wants to raise money to buy a bicycle for someone who, just like him, is a person with a disability.


"On August 15, I decided to set off with my specially adapted bicycle on the road from Savudrija to Prevlaka, during which I will cover 1,000 kilometers. With this venture, I want to motivate and inspire people, put an emphasis on an active life and promote Croatia. But the most important thing is that this action is of a humanitarian character and during my 40-day trip I will raise funds to buy at least one person with a disability a specially adapted bicycle as I have”, Slaven told Telegram, adding that people in a similar situation he wants to show by personal example that a good life after such an accident is very possible.

The reason behind the challenge

Just last year, Slaven Škrobot says, thanks to donations from his faithful companions, he was given the opportunity to purchase a specially adapted, hand-held bicycle. ‘‘I could’ve never afforded it since such a bike costs 60,000 kuna. That bike changed my life, it gave me a new dimension of travel, independence, and freedom. With that bike I traveled and explored our coast and cycled through Krk, Vis, Mljet, and Dugi Otok’’, adds the unstoppable Slaven who now wants to give this feeling of freedom to someone who has a similar disability as him.


‘‘While it all sounds very simple, the reality is quite different’’, he says. “Cycling 1,000 kilometers for someone like me is no small thing. Using hands that are not fully functional (I have no function in my fingers, triceps, and right wrist) is a big challenge and something like that, as far as I know, no one has done so far. In other words, as a person with tetraplegia and semi-functional hands, I can rarely improvise, be spontaneous or travel alone, because I am completely dependent on someone else's help’’.

Slaven will also need a team

"For a project like this, I need a good team, a very good plan, and quality logistics. In order for the project to start at all, it is necessary to cover the costs of the trip, which unfortunately are not small and for which I personally do not have the funds. It would be ideal to have a camper for rest, spontaneity, and freedom. The rent of a camper for the period in question is around HRK 35,000.00. In addition to campers, it is desirable for people who go with me to pay for their efforts”, he said.


However, these are not all costs, and you also have to pay for food, fuel, and additional battery, and other expenses such as food supplements, spare tires, tools, equipment, tolls, and camp costs. Namely, at least two people will go with Slaven, and he also needs an escort on a bicycle, a driver, a photographer or a cameraman, and a physiotherapist. "But I believe that I can find all these characteristics in only three people, which in the end would make a total team of four people", this young adventurer is convinced.

A documentary on the way

If you are wondering why the cameraman, Slaven Škrobot, has the answer to that as well. ‘‘The idea is to make a documentary out of the whole project, in which we would finally thank everyone who was part of this story, donated, and helped achieve the goal. I will consider it a small but heartfelt thank you. Something I can offer in return’’.


When the line is drawn, he adds, he will need 91,000.00 kuna for the realization of this project. “I am aware that this amount will seem large to some, but it is a realistic cost situation necessary for the project to succeed. Although this amount is large, the goal of the project is to raise a significantly higher amount needed to purchase a bicycle for people with disabilities. In addition, if it will encourage, motivate and make a person happy and give them that feeling of independence and freedom like mine, then it is invaluable. Therefore, help me so that together we can help someone else and make life better’’, he concludes.

You can learn more about Slaven Škrobot past, present, and future adventures on his official website.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.


Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Rights Groups: Croatia Breaking Its Promise On Disability Rights

Oct. 10, 2018 — A trip to a psychiatric hospital coincides with human rights organizations decrying Croatia’s habit of cordoning off the mentally ill.